The Villa Casa Casuarina
What We Love
- Location directly across from the beach
- The villa’s incredible on-site restaurant, which serves Old World dishes infused with innovative ingredients
- Rich history: The property is the former Versace mansion
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Miami vacation
What To Know
- Reservations are required for afternoon tea (served from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays in the Mosaic Garden)
- Looking to take a break from the beach scene? Try the property’s Thousand Mosaic Pool, where Versace’s 24K gold tiles still gleam
- Top Miami Beach restaurants and nightclubs are just a five-minute cab ride away
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
The Villa Miami Beach delivers a delicate mix of flamboyance and sophistication worthy of the mansion that once belonged to Gianni Versace. Past the iron gates (and the many celebrity seekers) that surround the 1930s villa — which is directly across from the beach — the property opens up like a scene from One Thousand and One Nights.
Bed and Bath
The layout is reminiscent of a Moroccan riad: 10 suites set around an interior courtyard with a fountain, with carved wood doors and intricate tiling. The Villa Suite is Versace’s former boudoir and, unsurprisingly, the most lavish — two balconies, gold shower fixtures and a truly enormous bed (nine by 12 feet) — but the other nine suites are close contenders. Each has Frette linens, Versace fabrics, a Sono sound system and a sleek bathroom clad in Italian marble.
You’d be remiss not to reserve a table at the villa’s 30-seat restaurant, where river pebble mosaics adorn the walls, candles in colored vases cast a glow over the tabletops, and Versace china announces that eating here is as much an aesthetic experience as a gustatory one. The menu from chef Jeff O’Neill (of Miami’s exclusive Gibraltar) features Old World dishes infused with innovative ingredients, such as the clementine carrot velouté with mascarpone and the maple-glazed barramundi in white ginger broth.
In the Area
This is the famed Art Deco District; don’t leave without taking a walking or bicycle tour, self-guided or otherwise, in order to see all the incredibly restored historic properties. While Ocean Drive itself can be touristy, and mediocre foodwise — with the exception of Prime 112, De Rodriguez Cuba and BLT Steak — it also offers some wicked fun, especially at the neighboring Palace South Beach, which is renowned for its colorful drag queen shows. Parallel avenues Collins and Washington feature world class dining and nightclub options, ranging from the Bazaar by José Andrés in the SLS Hotel to Mansion Nightclub. Perpendicular to the beach, the Lincoln Road walking mall is great for people watching and café hopping.
How to Get There
Stayed here with a few friends for a few nights. Rooms are very special with their decor and the building is a great destiantion on its own. As they aslo use the hotel as a restaurant the noise of the guests and cleaning dishes goes late into the night and very tough to sleep. Most rooms have zero view so you are in a nice suit but cannot ope any windows. Pool is open Midnight to 4PM so you cannot use in evening hours as its by the restaurant. Service is mediocre. Price is very high. Bottom line, great to visit and see the place but skip staying here and paying exorbitant prices and stay at one of the other nice hotels near bye where you will have a good night sleep and pay less.
Long overdue review for the hotel. We stayed a few nights early November 2018.
Pros – beautiful place, iconic, historic
Cons – did not offer to help with luggage for arrival, the morning silverware sorting echoes throughout the whole place, young female hostesses are unpleasant, the evening silverware sorting echoes throughout the whole place, requested to move rooms the silverware echoes were so unpleasant, you are questioned every time you return back to the hotel and must explain you are a guest (paying near 1k a night you need service where they know their handful of guests by face), they called for housekeeping while DND was on, the water was turned off one morning when we wanted to shower, they tried to kick us out when we got late check out the night prior, lastly no one was at front desk to check us out when we wanted to leave.
Stayed in the Venus Suite that overlooked Ocean Dr with a balcony. The size, layout, attention to detail, and furnishings could only have been created by someone like Versace. I have stayed in many Five Star hotel suites and non are comparable to this one. Yet since the Casa has only ten rooms it must survive on revenue from diners and visitors, making the place somewhat crowded and noisy. Moreover with ten rooms the focus is not on over the top personal service to the hotel guests, versus the St Regis. No elevator. Yet definitely worth the visit, reminded me of Mar a Lago but the suites are far better at Casa Casauarina.
Stayed for three nights in The Azure suite Valentine's week. The Azure had no windows that opened. You could not see out because they are covered with stained glass. The suite is decorated with heavy fabric that is 22 years old.
No service - they did not care if you existed, 22% service charge, plus 9% tax on the service charge
No management - never saw a manager
No employees - to take care of me
No pool - pool is closed from 4pm to 12 midnight; only six chaises and six towels
No sleep - the courtyard amplifies the noise from the dinner guests, then from midnight to 4am...a cacophony of chairs and tables being moved, and silverware being sorted
No security - lock your door at all times
No smoking - $250 fine if caught smoking
No elevators - not wheelchair friendly
When checking in, be sure you read contract before you sign.
I blame myself for the error in ever booking this horrid hotel. It was the only time I didn’t read the reviews on TripAdvisor first, had I, I would have seen the majority of negative reviews from the people who actually stayed there. The only thing keeping this from a ONE STAR rating is the reviews from the ones coming in for lunch and dinner.
I booked our suite in June 2018 (one of the 4 best in the Villa) and as soon as I did, I emailed the hotel and requested either Gianni’s suite or the Signature suite. I didn’t hear anything back so sent two more emails to which the hotel failed to respond.
We arrived around 10:30 am after an overnight flight from Canada. There is a podium outside where you pass a guard to get to. The young girl working behind the podium was rude and arrogant. We were told we couldn’t have either suite we requested ,that we’d been placed in the Garden suite. I asked if we could look at it and she said NO.
Finally she reneged and we viewed the suite, it was dark, musty and not to our liking. We informed her we had no intention of staying in that suite and that I was absolutely up front from the moment we booked. We were then told we could have the Signature Suite after lunch, around 3. We came back at 2 and were told the Manager said NO we could not have the “Signature Suite” that we could have the Garden Suite only or we could be downgraded to the Medallion Suite. I stated this simply wasn’t acceptable and we’d never been treated so poorly.
At that point another couple who worked their (or at the sister hotel) came a long and started snapping at us, that our one night pre-payment wouldn’t be refunded, they’d charge us for all three nights and we should have known their intent by the lack of response to my emails.
The Manager was phoned again as we were leaving and he said our money would be refunded.
The only person in the entire hotel who has any semblance of a heart was the fellow who handled our luggage (he’s from Nice, France) and he was trying to help us get into an UBER and stated we should try the Standard Hotel. The entire time he was trying to help us, the rest were snapping at him, “get back here to work”
We have stayed in some of the best hotels in the world and never seen such rude and arrogant staff. Everyone of them was a piece of work and certainly not in a good way. As we left, I said I’d be writing a very negative review on TripAdvisor and their response was “Don’t care, people will line up to stay here anyway.”
We arrived to the Standard and they had no rooms available but the Concierge, Hugo and the amazing staff did everything in their power to be of a benefit to us. We ended up at the Mandarin Oriental in a fabulous water and city view room with a free buffet breakfast everyday, wine and chocolates sent to us and genuine kindness by the staff.
Do yourself a favour and stay anywhere else.